Going to: d.Construct 2007: User Experience Design Conference


Go see:
_ d.Construct 2007: User Experience Design Conference

d.Construct is an affordable, one-day conference aimed at those designing and building the latest generation of web-based applications.

Previous years have seen speakers from organizations including Amazon, Google and the BBC, discuss the challenges and opportunities created by the web. This year will see 600 web professionals gather in Brighton to consider the topic of ‘user experience design’. Leading speakers from companies including Yahoo! and Adaptive Path will share their expert knowledge on how to create the best online experiences possible.

Seeya there ;-)

Senior Web/UI Designer/Front End Developer at Technovated


Location: London, UK
URL: www.technovated.com

Do you believe in user focused, web standard design and development, driven by simplicity?

Technovated is a web software start-up based in South-West London, looking for a motivated, senior-level UI person to help us deliver a compelling product for a venture backed project.

This is an opportunity to own the entire user experience, from turning ideas into compelling HTML/CSS mockups that our engineers can run with, where you will be tasked with putting together the bleeding edge of web technologies and design aesthetics to produce an engaging, immersive product. Your background should include a blend of the creative and technical sides. Your technical proficiency and real-world experience should also show in your portfolio. You should have 3+ years experience developing frontend interfaces, be able to create mockups, and be a great communicator.

In return, you’ll have the opportunity to work on a visible web product with an extremely talented team in London.

• Ownership of interface design.
• Designing storyboards, page layouts, site grids and interface demos, and prototyping.
• Ability to apply design thinking skills upstream of the traditional role of the designer.
• Knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of modern front-end technologies & approaches (XHTML/CSS, ActionScript, JavaScript, AJAX, DHTML, etc.) and the curiosity to tinker and play.

Required experience:
• 3+ years experience in front-end web development
• Experience translating comps and wireframes into flexible and usable code templates
• Strong working knowledge developing cross platform/browser compatibility (IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc.) for dynamic web applications
• Hand coded (X)HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Please provide evidence of progressive techniques, separation of markup, presentation and behaviour layers in your front-end code including use of unobtrusive JavaScript
• Experience with Smarty, Flexy
• Experience in developing web applications with rich client interfaces using AJAX, drag and drop, and other DOM Scripting techniques
• Familiarity with JavaScript frameworks and animation libraries like Prototype, Scriptaculous and JQuery
• Knowledge of SEO best practices
• Experience with SVN
• Excellent verbal, writing, visualization, and presentation skills

• Medium to strong PHP skills
• Experience with Seagull PHP framework a definite plus
• Familiarity with Apache

To apply:
E-mail your cover letter and resume to hello AT technovated DOT com
Subject header must have UI WEB DEVELOPER-LNDN.

No recruiters or offshore development teams.
This is a 3 month contract with the possibility of extension.

Naked CEO series: work life balance and health/fitness at a startup


I’ve got 10 mins to write this so I’ll keep this as short and brief as possible ;-)

I’m really struggling with this work life balance and exercise thing. I’m totally cool with where I am regards the amount of work I’m doing, and the hours I’m putting in, ‘cos I’m working towards something. But that’s another conversation altogether.

Point is that at this stage, I’m really trying hard to get exercise into my daily schedule. I find the benefits of even 3 sessions a week massively worth it. More than that and my body feels like a different beast. When I was younger I played a pretty competitve level of sport, so I really do miss that physical exertion thing.

The main problem apart from actually doing it, is doing it at the right time. I’m not really a morning person, but I’m told that exercising in the morning is better for a few things, so have bought into that. Problem is that when you’re getting to bed at 12 at night, and waking up at 6am (latest to make it possible) to go to gym, then get to work by 8, you’re only getting 6 hours of sleep, more like 5 hours with actually getting to sleep factored in. Not good, and defo not sustainable.

So the other option is to do gym in the evening after work, which I like as it means that after a long hard day you can go to gym and really work out any frustrations/demons/backaches, and there are enerally more women in the gym too ;-) Problem here is that you end up going to bed later (like I am now) as you’re only really getting home around 8/8:30, which means you’re only able to get work started by 9 earliest, which means at best you get 3 hours in before 12 and bedtime. I don’t personally like this much as it means I’m still wide awake when I should be sleeping – my brain doesn’t switch off unless I encourage it to.

Still, both of the above are better than staying at the office until the last tube (which I’ve done more times than I can remember, and have vowed not to do again!), as then you lose supper, exercise, contact with human beings, although you might actually get more work done.

My big problem is that I’ve figured out through many weeks and months and years of batting my head against my metabolism, that I actually do need at least 7 hours of sleep, preferably 8, at this stage of my life, to function properly and not enter into zombie Gareth mode. And sleep is something that I want to safeguard as much as possible as I’m starting to consider it as a cornerstone of being productive and efficient.

So, this is basically a monologue, where it looks like the answer has come out through conversation with myself, which is also another reason why I enjoy blogging!

I’m gonna aim to go to gym by 7/7:30am, get to work by 8:30/9am, which I’ll try tomorrow. If I can’t make it ‘cos I’m too tired, I sleep more, and go to gym in the evening. If I can make it before work, then I have gottten exercise out of the way, and will have more time in the evening for other stuff, or just plain more work, so either way I should be able to keep the number of hours of sleep consistent, as well as regular exercise. Wonder what a good session on the guns in the morning will feel like at lunchtime! ;-)

Key here is to get that regular sleep, and to get that regular exercise, whatever it takes.
I’m gonna try my best to get the above into a daily habit (27 repetitions of the action I think is what is needed), now that I’ve talked about this publicly, and have to do something about it! Today was day 1.

Has anyone else found any other systems / approaches that work? Would love to hear as I’m sure there are loads of tricks that would help… Like putting your gym bag in the doorway before you go to sleep!

Naked CEO series: worst client reaffirms status


In all my time in this industry so far, specifically regards my time in London, I’ve not come accross anyone anywhere near like the client I had the displeasure of spending time with this evening.

A rough chain of events:

  • Client changed meeting location on the day
  • Client changed meeting time late morning / early afternoon
  • Client was 45 minutes late for meeting, having already ushered us into their offices himself (after opening the door for us, he proceeded to spend another 40 minutes on the phone, leaving us in the meeting room)
  • Client made no mentioned of keeping us waiting, no apology for delay, no thanks for time
  • Meeting ends at about 7:15pm
  • Result: miss gym (exercise and sauna) ‘cos got home to late; have to work later now to catch up time I lost earlier

Normally I’d not have a problem meeting with someone that late, but when you’re asked to make a meeting and then are forced to sit in the conference room for 45 minutes shooting the breeze with idle small talk, it gets frustrating, and you end up feeling it’s a waste of time. Not even saying thanks for cutting into your personal time is just plain rude, and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

My general point of view is that business is a two way street. I need to make money, and you need a service of some sort. If we both work together, we both stand to benefit. But when you adopt the kind of attitude (and I’ve watered it down some) this client displays towards peoples time, which to me seemed totally disrespectful; add a dash of arrogance; a pinch of ignorance; and a sliver of bullying; you get one thing: WANKER, or more politely, an absolute bloody tosser.

I came away resolving to myself that if I ever in my travels through life encounter someone who even closely resembles the traits I’ve seen tonight, I’m going to say not to whatever it is we’re talking about, and run for the hills. No amount of money would make me work with this kind of person ever again. Luckily, I get to have a say in whom we work with, so that base is covered ;-)

I don’t want to come accross as a whiner, because generally I’ve got a long fuse and am pretty laid back, but just plain decency, and a little bit of consideration for people in general, goes a long way to making difficult situations easier. I expect that of myself, and generally expect that of others too ;-)

Anyways, it’s over now, and I’m hoping that that project will be over in a relatively short amount of time, so that I can put it to bed, and be stronger and wiser for the experience.

Would be really interested to hear your nightmare client stories? Better, worse, much worse?

Naked CEO series: Taking stock of where you are


A long time ago, a older man gave a younger man an axe, and told him to go and tend to his own forest to make sure he had enough wood for his fires in the winter.

So the younger man went to the forest and began cutting the trees in the right place, to make sure they grew back again. Sure enough, other woodcutters were attracted to the sound of the younger man chopping wood, so they joined him in the chopping of trees.

After a time, the woodcutters were so busy cutting trees, that they forgot to count how many logs they had cut, or to check where they were. When they counted, they found they had plenty, and when the looked to see where they were, they found they were deep inside the forest, far away from any other woodcutters.


Just had an IM conversation with a client, who has reminded me that taking stock is very important. I’ve realised that we’re so focussed on the present and the future, that we’ve not looked back at our successes and acknowledged them for what they are.

I’m not going to go into detail here, ‘cos now is not the time and the place, and I need to go to sleep, but suffice it to say, we’ve grown incredibly fast, and actually taking stock of it all in the last hour, I’ve realised that for all of the speed wobbles and growing pains were going through, they far, far, far outweigh the alternatives.

And for that my friends, I am glad.